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Michigan Nursing Home Death Raises Questions About Gross Negligence

The Special Focus Facilities List is a national registry of nursing homes that are considered to be problem facilities that require monitoring for poor and negligent treatment. The list was created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and as of 2010, there were at least 126 nursing homes nationwide that qualified for this negative attention.

As of June 21, 2012, the Laurels of Sandy Creek Nursing Home in Wayland, Michigan had been on the SFF List for two months, and the status was earned just prior to an accusation of gross negligence in the death of 80-year old Doris Robbins that occurred on May 6. Robbins’ daughter, Patricia Slomski, told Wood TV 8 in Michigan that Robbins was permitted to take her afternoon nap, and she simply never woke up. Robbins had been suffering from myriad health complications; however, she was persistent and dedicated to improvement.

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According to Wood TV, Robbins was suffering from medical issues as early as 10 a.m. on that day, and nurses tended to her but never alerted the facility’s physician. At 3:45 p.m., Robbins had been found unresponsive during her nap, and she was declared dead. Reports show that the nurses did not try to perform CPR or resuscitate her in any way, nor did they call an ambulance or the police.

Soon after, the staff of the nursing home released a statement:

“The report that you had with you represents the findings of the State Survey team and we have an opportunity to respond and to dispute those findings and we are currently in that process. We have had findings overturned 50% in a recent survey cycle. We would suggest and request that you do not prematurely report findings that have not been reviewed. This will only put undue concerns in our family’s minds. The Laurels of Sandy Creek is very proud of the dedicated, caring staff that serves our residents, families and the community of Wayland.”

The Laurels of Sandy Creek Nursing Home was 1 of 24 facilities that were added to the SFF List in the past 5 months. It is currently 1 of 4 facilities in Michigan on the SFF List, with a fifth nursing home having recently “graduated” from SFF status.

The SFF List is split into 5 categories to help track the status of the nursing homes – New Additions, Not Improved, Improving, Recently Graduated, and No Longer in Medicare and Medicaid. In order to qualify for that final status, a nursing home has either closed or voluntarily left the CMS in order to make corrections and adjustments under federal health laws.

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